Up to 25 Santa Clarita Valley environmental and political advocates gathered in front of City Hall Monday afternoon to protest Chiquita Canyon Landfill and urge local government officials to take a stand against the expansion.
Multiple organizations plan to appeal the April 19 Los Angeles County Planning Commission’s approval of the landfill and asked for signatures and accepted donations to cover the $883 administration costs for each appeal.
Lynne Plambeck, president of the Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment (SCOPE), led the event and sought to rally community members together in opposition of Chiquita.
“We’re asking that the city take a position on this and oppose this landfill,” Plambeck said.
Communications Director for Val Verde Civic Association Erica Larsen said she believed the planning commission was being complicit and complacent.
“They think the community is misunderstanding the contract, but with all due respect, we think they are misunderstanding the contract,” Larsen said.
Association members intend to fight the landfill using “any means necessary,” Larsen said.
Community activist Darrell Park emphasized the need to start using Mesquite Regional Landfill (El Centro, CA) instead of Chiquita, a paid-for facility that will hold 100 years of trash, he said.
“We are here for one reason and one reason only, to make sure this landfill is shut down forever,” Park said. “Who believes their government needs to keep its promises? All of us.”
Park encouraged citizens to continue the fight against Chiquita, acknowledging their previous involvement.
The city’s lack of a stance of opposition is a stance of support, said Citizens’ Climate Lobby member Cher Gilmore.
“Our local government has forgotten what’s important and is putting profit over people,” Gilmore said. “Do the people living in Val Verde deserve to be sacrificed as collateral damage just to make garbage collection cheaper and the county richer?”
Residents would be willing to pay extra trash fees to take garbage to Mesquite if it meant helping Val Verde residents, she said.
Jeremiah Dockray, member of Citizens for Chiquita Canyon Landfill Compliance, said the fight was not just Val Verde residents’ burden, but everyone’s.
“The landfill would have you believe that this is just business as usual, and that is not safe,” Dockray said.
Local Democrats have adopted an emergency resolution in light of the landfill’s expansion, said President of Democratic Alliance for Action Patti Sulpizio.
“Why did Democrats get involved?” Sulpizio said. “Our local elected representatives are not representing the interests of the residents of Santa Clarita Valley and Los Angeles County.”
Residents’ quality of life and property values matter more than convenience and cost-efficiency, she said. Several Democratic groups plan to make appointments with county supervisors to share their perspectives, according to Sulpizio.
Logan Smith, co-founder of Our Revolution of Santa Clarita Valley and leader of Santa Clarita Valley Young Democrats, said he was not permitted by the board of supervisors to be part of the Community Advisory Committee for Chiquita because elected officials are biased.
“Our elected officials have forgotten that they serve the public and not private pocket books,” Smith said.
Castaic resident Lloyd Carder II said the Chiquita issue is bi-partisan and was there to represent Republicans who want to protect the environment.
“Right now, the landfill has all the power,” Carder said. “They get to bully the county now. SCOPE will come in and have equal word so the public will get some equality in this process.”
Former council member Carl Boyer attended and spoke, and recommended Mayor Cameron Smyth form a new county with Palmdale and Lancaster.
“It is time for us to get out of this board of supervisors all together,” Boyer said.
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